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Therese Raphael

Boris Johnson Is an Incredibly Lucky Politician

Corbyn was a gift. But the prime minister’s promises to his new blue-collar supporters on Brexit and spending will be difficult to honor. 

Happy as Larry.

Happy as Larry.

Photographer: Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

Boris Johnson dramatically altered the landscape of British politics on Thursday night, ending a period of debilitating parliamentary gridlock and three years of uncertainty over Brexit. In doing so, the U.K. prime minister gave himself what his predecessor Theresa May could never have: the political space to define his country’s departure from the European Union and address the social and economic frustrations that led to the 2016 Brexit vote.

In an election where constituency swings of as little as 5% could make a big difference, the movements went almost entirely the way of Johnson’s Conservatives. In all, with some votes still being counted into Friday morning, the Tories looked set to win 364 seats for a whopping majority of 78. Long-held Labour seats in its former industrial heartlands, such as Workington in the northwest and Blyth Valley in the northeast, switched to the Tories — some for the first time in 70 or more years. Jo Swinson, leader of the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats, lost her seat.